An hour or so in the day of the fumbling, stumbling worshiper . . .

Getting there: Traffic on way to church slowed down for one car pushing another down Balmoral. It was an old-fashioned mine-won’t-start-get-me-going, bumper-to-bumper affair. To the credit of Western Civilization, honks were a scattered few along the block-long line of rush-hour vehicles. The other pair peeled off at Broadway, and the rest of us moved along.

At mass: I sit on the side under a light with my New Testament by Msgr. Ronald Knox. It’s Mark 15, about Jesus questioned by Pilate, who’s amazed at his not answering to the charges that Pilate knew were trumped up by priests and others of the established religion, that which Jesus had been challenging.

Pilate tells the crowd Jesus is not guilty. Stirred up by priests and the rest, they roar disapproval. He gives in, not looking for trouble at headquarters about rioting in his province.

He hands Jesus over to be crucified and scourged and then famously crowned with thorns because soldiers did that kind of thing. The guy was a nothing, some fun could be had. Pilate ignored his wife, who had dreamed that Jesus was a just man and told him. Both were nervous about it.

Meanwhile, Father is preaching and speaking of Elizabeth. Yes, but which one? Later about that.

I sit, as noted, outside the main stream and besides don’t always hear so well, am reading Mark and writing things down and wondering some times, Is this worship? Well if it isn’t, I have to settle for it often enough.

Otherwise I am trying to get with every prayer and holy thought emanating from the “presider” (interesting Vatican 2 terminology some times replacing “celebrant,” with effect of changing the priest’s role). Failing to do so, often instead I am thrashing about with memories of every darn thing that consoles or bothers me, making me mad or sad. I become the worried man singing the worried song.

To avoid such wasters of prayer time, more accurately meditation, I read and reflect on my man Mark, the gospel-writer, who came late to the scene but signed on for the Jesus movement heart and soul and interviewed those who were there, especially his guiding star Peter, and put it down for us to know what happened in these earth-shaking years.

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